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Leaning On The Everlasting Arms Hymn Story and Lyrics

The Story Behind Leaning On The Everlasting Arms


Leaning on the Everlasting Arms is a hymn from the pen of Professor Anthony Showalter with the help of Reverend Elisha Hoffman. It was written in 1887. 

Professor Showalter was a music professor who went around rural America teaching music.

Before we continue we need some kind of background on the music situation before this period in American history as it will help to understand how this hymn came about.

A long time ago there were few printed songbooks or hymns books in America. Therefore during church time, the congregations depended on the choristers for the words and the tune of the songs. The choristers actually called out the words and the congregation would follow after them.

It should be pointed out as well that at this time few people knew how to read music as music was rarely taught in schools.  

Anthony Showalter
Later on, things changed and there was an increase in the printing of songbooks. And through the persistent pressure of various musicians, music started being taught in schools through music masters who moved around the rural areas of America teaching music.

One of the music masters who responded to the call was Professor Showalter. 

One day in 1887, Professor Showalter found himself in Alabama teaching music for a brief period. After the class, he left for the boarding house to rest.

Waiting for him at the boarding house were two letters from his former music students from South Carolina. As coincidence would have it both were informing him of the sad news that they had just lost their wives.

The verse that he wanted to use to console them is the inspiration for this hymn. It is Deuteronomy 33:27, "The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms: He will thrust out the enemy from before you, and will say, 'destroy".

But before he decided to send the letters he felt it would be better to compose a song instead based on this verse. After all, these were his music students who now knew how to read and sing music.

He, therefore, wrote the chorus of this hymn:

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms, 
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

He later sent the chorus to Reverend Elisha Hoffman in Pennsylvania who added the verses for this beautiful hymn. 

When Professor Showalter received the finished work he wrote the music to this song.

That is how this song that has blessed many grieving souls over the years came about. May God bless you as you lean on Him.


Leaning on the Everlasting Arms Hymn Lyrics


What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!

Refrain:
Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

O how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!
O how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms!
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

For more lyrics and stories of popular hymn click here.

Leaning on The Everlasting Arms Hymn video


Below is a video featuring Alan Jackson singing this beautiful hymn.


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